August 1, 2009

Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD: Beyond Piles, Palms, and Post-Its by Terry Matlen, M.S.W.

BOOK #: 63
REASONS READ: I have ADD and I am always looking for tips!
PUBLISHER: Specialty Press, Inc.
GENRE: Health, Self-Help, Psychology
RATING: 5/5 Stars

I can't say enough good things about this book.

Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD is a cornucopia of amazing tips for women who want to improve the quality of their life. Terry Matlen has gone directly to the source- women with AD/HD and AD/HD experts- to bring together a variety of ideas, tips, tricks, and resources to a life of disorganization, forgetfulness, distractions, and sensory overload.

I have all my favorite ideas highlighted (I refuse to dogear pages). I have had ADD my whole life but was only diagnosed as an adult. Suddenly so much of my childhood and adolescence and college days made SO much more sense- why I had post-it notes to remind me to look at my day planner, why piles of paper always made more sense than filing them, why I interrupt people when they are talking so often, why I jumped from one activity to the next to the next and why follow-through has been a major issue for me.

I still struggle with all of these issues, but since being diagnosed I now know how to find resources to help me, including Matlen's book. Here are some of the survival tips Matlen and her contributors share:

Tip: Keeping toys in line- use "parking spots" (I am using this one for my pre-k classroom!)
When my children were smaller, we set aside "parking spots" in the playroom and family room where most of their toys landed. By the end of the day, they had to "go park their toys" in their designated spaces, which kept things basically neat. (Martha, UK)

Tip: Alternative to cooking- pot lucks
If you avoid entertaining because you hate to cook or are too disorganized to pull a meal together, consider the old standby- pot lucks. If your friends hate to cook, too, make a "Take-Out Pot Luck Dinner," and instruct everyone to pick up foods from their favorite carry-out spots. Just make sure you check to see what everyone is bringing so you don't end up with 30 buckets of KFC. (Terry Matlen)

Tip: Time for chores- Fly Lady and timer
One of the biggest things that has helped me is the website She speaks a lot of breaking things down into little jobs, e.g., "Set the time for 15 minutes and do the task at hand." Her motto is that anyone can do anything for 15 minutes. When I get behind, I try not to beat myself up and spend all night catching up. I just spend 15 minutes doing one little job and see what I accomplish. It has been a lifesaver for me. (LeAnn, Oregon)

Tip: Scheduling- color coding work days
I work four days on and four days off, so I use highlighters to mark the days I work. If it's pink, I know I work that day. If it's overtime, I mark that in pink and the time (payday is green). The days I teach are in orange, etc. I'm very visual. (Jamie, NY)

There are 300+ tips in this book that directly target women with AD/HD. There are also tons of resources, including websites, agencies, software programs, and more that can help. I heart this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who has AD/HD, is a parent of a child with AD/HD, has a friend or partner with AD/HD, or just needs some help organizing and simplifying!

Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW is a psychotherapist and consultant specializing in AD/HD and is the author of 'Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD'. She is the director of, and has been an advocate for those with AD/HD for more than a dozen years. She leads support groups, writes numerous articles on AD/HD and is a sought after speaker at local and national conferences where she presents on topics pertaining to AD/HD, with a special interest in women with AD/HD and parenting AD/HD children when one or both parents also have AD/HD. Ms. Matlen is a former board member of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) and past coordinator of her local CHADD chapter. She currently writes for where she is their in-house ADHD expert.
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Have you read and reviewed this book or another book on AD/HD? E-mail me or leave me a comment and I will add your review to this post!


  1. Thanks so much for this post. I was diagnosed with 3 subtypes of ADD last month. Im 27. I look forward to reading this book!

  2. What great tips! I love the take out pot luck! And the parking spaces. Actually, they're all good!

  3. This is a book I need - going to go ahead and order now.


  4. Lots of great tips, whether or not one has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD!

    (I refuse to dog-ear, also :) )

  5. Excellent resource!! Flylady has helped me out in the past!!

  6. I am so glad you reviewed this book! I'm going to order it right away! I was diagnosed with ADD at 18 and had the same, "Oh, well that makes more sense now!" thing you described.

    I have read so many books about ADD survival tips, but too many of them seem like they just tell you to buy a gadget or hire someone to help, instead of giving real tips and tools. I am so thankful for your recommendation!


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